How To Do Online Giveaways Correctly!

Did you know that a well-thought-out giveaway competition online can actually drive major growth for your business? Whether your KPIs are increased traffic, social follows or email subscribers, giveaways and sweeps are a great way to draw attention to your brand when done right. In my Startup Growth Book, I exactly how to put together a hosted sweepstakes, partner with other sponsors for prizes, and get promotion to tens of thousands of potential customers, for literally no spend.  For those who want a little taste before jumping into the course though, we thought we’d take a minute and write out some simpler tips on how with our last online giveaway we ended up getting 15k+ targeted emails, 10 happy partners, 30k views of the sweeps page and over 2 million total impressions for our client…all for $400 budget! See our best tips on how to do online giveaways correctly below:

Picking a giveaway platform: When you do giveaways on social media without a platform, you miss out on a lot of virality. We suggest either or Normally we use ViralSweep and absolutely love it, but many people have also recommended DojoMojo to us as well. They’re not free, but they will greatly increase your bottom line here. The ROI is huge.

I also like ViralSweep a lot because they have their own network of potential partners they put you in front of, with no time investment. 


I am not affiliated with nor am I an affiliate of ViralSweep. FYI!

Designing your competition: Decide what your goals for your sweeps are, and build the entries (your conversions essentially) around those KPIs. So if the goal is to build social media profiles for a brand then you should definitely make following, sharing etc the actions that garner more entries for visitors to drive that KPI. If the goal is to gather as many email addresses as possible, then you’ll want to push for referrals. We recommend all of the above. The more entries people can get the better engaged they will be and more likely they are to stay connected with your brand. It’s all good. You want it all right?


Pro Tip: We’ve done over 20 giveaways in the past decade and we can tell you that there’s a direct correlation to how easy it is to enter, and how many total entrants you’ll get. Keep it simple. 


Competition length: We recommend shorter competitions to keep people interested. Honestly, 1 week to 2 weeks is the ideal in our experience.This is because the initiatives tend to sap a lot of energy from those involved, managing partners, coordination, posting regularly on all social media channels, and also the data we have seen show that interest generally dies off around 14 days. 


Partner outreach: There are two reasons you reach out the potential partners; for prizes and for promotion. 


Obviously free giveaway prizes are ideal, but promotional partners are really more important to be honest. You can get prizes rather easy but big media partners are harder to get, and more important for optimizing the success of the campaign. You can buy an iPhone and get more interest (although low quality, ideally you want targeted prizes that only your demographic will be interested in) than any partner’s giveaway, but you can’t afford an email to 400k people. DMing and emailing companies you want to partner with always works, just make sure you focus on the value you’re offering them, not just asking for free stuff.


                           How we reach out to potential partners…it’s all about offering value. 


If you’re really feeling frisky you can do public post/tweets too to get their attention, but they will always respond to DM or email. Your goal should not be to get something out of the people you’re emailing. They’ll sense that and you’ll be ignored. If you ever hear Andrew talk, you’ll know he always says to focus on creating as much value as possible, and this holds true for your giveaway partners. You want to help them get free marketing via my competition. 


Pro tip: You should NOT promise email lists to partners who are only prize sponsors. 


Holding Partners Accountable: You’re going to want to regularly follow up with each partner to make sure they were holding up their end of the bargain. In Bootstrapped!, the online course we launched this year, Andrew teaches exactly how to create a media plan (including templates as well) which makes it 100x easier to stay on top of each partner. The media plan is truly the main driver for the success of the sweeps campaigns. 


Tracking: Inside of either platform you chose, there is a tab called Analytics, inside of that there should be an area to create unique tracking URLs for each partner. Create a unique tracking URL for each partner and send these URLs to the partners so that each entry that comes via their emails and social promotions is attributed to them. If you don’t use a platform then just use this Dynamic URL builder.


Pro tip: Throughout the competition, we recommend giving a leaderboard of partners to help drive engagement and commitment as well. 


Announcing the winners: Wahoo! The sweeps is over, and you can finally rest. Now it’s time to select and notify the winners. Inside of ViralSweep there’s a very easy tool for picking random winners and I assume other viral sweeps tools are the same. If you choose not to use a hosted platform you can use this simple free random winner selector. Pick your winners, and then email each one individually with the prize sponsor CC’d so they can follow up. 


It’s important to give them a deadline to respond so that you can give those who didn’t win some glimmer of hope :). I also suggest asking winners for photos with their prizes if they don’t mind being featured in social media. It’s great content, and it’s nice to show all entrants that you weren’t lying, people actually did win your stuff. It garners more trust for future giveaways. 


Follow-ups: Make sure to email the list of non-winners, immediately, the same day as you email the winners. Also, make sure you email each winner individually with the prize sponsor CC’d so they can send them the prizes. 


Phew, got all of that? Are you ready to launch an online giveaway now too? Got any other tips on crushing sweeps and competitions? Let’s see them in the comments.   If you’re interested in discovering all the detailed marketing strategies I’ve learned to launch and grow multiple early-stage businesses around the world then you should check out my Startup Growth Hacking Book.


If you’re looking for more in-depth help but you’re an early-stage startup I’m here to tell you don’t need to hire a marketing agency. I would love to be your growth marketing coach. Learn more about my unique growth coaching program here. 


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